Starters are important

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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Starters are important

Postby B Stein » Sat Oct 30, 2004 12:32 am

I am suprised to find out in an issue of BYO magazine that all 5 gal batches need a starter to actually get the start that they really need. They said that a 5 gal batch with an SG of 1.048 needs 228 Billion yeast cells. But a White labs vial only contains 30-60 Billion cells.

They said this size batch needs a 2 liter starter so they boiled .46lbs of DME with 2 liters of water cooled and pithched the yeast. They also said this should be ready to pitch into the 5gal beer in 2 days or so.

My question is: has anyone actually done this for a 5gal batch and does it make a real difference in your beer? If I get enough yesses then I will also try this out, heck I may do it next batch regardless. The magazine calls this the single least expensive way to improve a batch of beer. :?:
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Postby Phobos » Sat Nov 06, 2004 10:22 am

Hi. I've read articles saying to use a 1-2 liter starter. The advantage is that the beer starts fermenting quickly with less chance of contamination. For a wort that is 1.070 or greater you should use a starter so the yeast has a good chance. You'll get a cleaner better tasting beer. I have used a liter culture of Kolsch yeast for a kolsch beer to get a light crisp bodied beer. I usually make a liter culture for white labs yeast, though I am under piching, I still get good beer and the fermentation starts within 5-10 hours. Wyeast has the new Activator smack pack for just under $6, that has 100 Billion yeast cells. I am going to try the activator in a porter this weekend. It's a premade starter and with the slap pack you know the yeast is viable. Either way, a starter won't hurt your beer. Enjoy! :lol:
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It makes a big difference.

Postby Brewer2001 » Sun Dec 12, 2004 12:51 pm

B,


When I went to brewing school they had us count the yeast...no joke. We measure a given amount of water and added a specific amount of yeast slurry to arrive at a specific volume (I would have to check my notes for all the specifics....). Then we had to plate and stain them and count all the live cells. I haven't conducted these test since I was in school but here is the jist.

Viability is the key. You need a certain amount of yeast cells to start a quick fermentation, dead cells in the slurry won't help (they may contribute to off flavors). So out of that 30-60 billion you might have 1/3 that are dead. You need to repopulate the colony by allowing it to grow in dilute wort (below 1.035). The reason is that there is only a ,relativly small, amount of glucose in brewing wort and the yeast may 'feed' rather than multiply. Once the glucose has been depleated there may not be enough viable yeast to start sugar conversion. Theis is the prime cause of "stuck" fermantations.

One the homebrewer front, we don't the equipment or desire to do all the tests, so we just 'build' the slurry to pitching 'strength' (volume) and let nature do the rest.

There is the short reason for the why?

Good brewing,

Tom F.
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Postby B Stein » Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:20 am

Gentlemen,

Thanks for the replies. I have come to the conclusion that the two cheapest and easiest ways to improve my beer is a quart starter two days before the boil and a secondary fermentation vessel.

I can't wait to start my next batch.


Brad
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